The UTSA Roadrunner softball team kicked off its 2019 fall schedule at home on Sunday, Oct. 20 with a 4-3 defeat against the Grayson Community College Vikings. The ‘Runners only managed four hits and went 1-6 with runners in scoring position, as Grayson’s pitchers kept the ‘Runners’ bats in check for most of the day. GCC collected six hits on the day, only striking out once, but failed to record any extra base hits because the ‘Runners’ pitching staff did an excellent job of pitching to contact.
Sophomore Clarissa Hernandez received the ball to start the game for the ‘Runners and turned in a respectable showing. After a rough start early in the top of the first inning by allowing a leadoff single immediately followed by a steal and another single that scored a run, Hernandez managed to work her way out of trouble. The ‘Runners’ offense immediately backed up their pitcher with a leadoff walk and a steal of second, which coupled with consecutive errors by the Grayson infield, leading to the ‘Runners taking a 2-1 lead heading into the second inning. Hernandez managed to work a 1-2-3 inning, finishing the day allowing two hits and one run over two innings pitched. The ‘Runners threatened again in the bottom of the second with runners on first and second base with two outs, but a popout to the shortstop brought the inning to a close.
UTSA coach Michelle Cheatham turned the ball over to her freshman left-hander Marena Estell to begin the third inning. Estell struggled with her command and found herself allowing the first two base runners in the inning to reach safety before an RBI single knotted the game at 2-2. A walk followed by a hit batter plated another run, and Grayson regained the lead that it would not relinquish. Coach Cheatham pulled Estell and called on sophomore right-hander Madison Nelson out of the bullpen to try and get out of the bases-loaded jam with nobody out. Nelson limited the damage, allowing one run to come in on an error in the outfield before managing to get out of the jam with the ‘Runners trailing 4-2.
The ‘Runners had a chance to answer in the bottom of the third inning with runners on second and third base with two outs, but as was the case most of the afternoon, the ‘Runners could not capitalize as a flyout to right field ended the inning. Nelson worked a further two innings before exiting after the top of the fifth allowing two hits and receiving two defensive plays by junior second basemen Elexus Trenkle, whose diving catch in the top of the fourth would strand a Grayson base runner in scoring position and end the inning. Nelson was relieved in the top of the sixth inning by redshirt sophomore Makenzie Carpenter, who would not allow a baserunner in two innings of work to shutdown Grayson’s offense. Unfortunately, the ‘Runners’ offense would not be able to capitalize on the work of their bullpen. A solo homerun deep to left center by Marena Estell to bring the ‘Runners closer at 4-3, followed by a double off the wall, would be as close as the ‘Runners would get. Grayson retired the next seven ‘Runner batters to slam the door shut on any comeback attempt, as the ‘Runners fell short, 4-3.
The ‘Runners will be back in action against Vernon Community College at Roadrunner Field on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m.